New Juvenile Smoking Law Goes Into Effect
Starting Thursday, the state of Ohio will forbid minors to buy, possess or use any tobacco products.
NewsChannel5's Ted Hart reports that smoking could be hazardous to more than just a youngster's health.
David, 16, recalls the first time that he puffed a cigarette. It was six years ago.
"It's hard out here sometimes," he said. "Sometimes, you need that to deal with it. (The cigarettes) help you relax, tone out and everything."
David smokes about four or five cigarettes a day, but he just learned that starting Thursday, it's illegal for him -- and all minors -- to smoke.
"Some people don't care, you know," he said. "They're going to keep smoking. (I) hope I don't get caught."
If he does get caught, he could face a $100 fine, as well as a suspension of his driving privileges.
Although offenders of the new law will face juvenile judges, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Robert Triozzi expects to see some of them after they become adults.
"If you get caught driving under suspension as an 18-year-old, you actually face up to six months in jail, $1,000 in fines and all the reinstatement fees that come into play trying to restore a driver's license," Triozzi said.
Supporters of the new law hope that the threat of losing a license will burn the desire to take a drag, WEWS reports.
"Cigarettes (aren't) nothing to me then," one teen said. "I'd rather drive that smoke cigarettes all day."
"I'll try as hard as I can to quit if I lose my license," another teen said.
"I've tried to quit so I can (get) into shape with boxing, but it's hard to quit, you know," a local teen said.
Juvenile possession and purchase of rolling papers are covered by the new law as well, WEWS reports.